How many of us actually dedicate time to reflect on prior year? How many of us create goals in the beginning of a new year? How many of us actually follow through on these new goals in the new year?
STOP CREATING GOALS, START WITH CREATING INTENTIONS!
This is a time to reflect and look back to a very challenging 2020 year. Yeah, there has been major life shifting situations, hardships, struggles, and conflict. The real question to ask yourself, is how did you handling these uncontrolable situations? What did you embrace or choose not to embrace?
I like to think of 2020 as the year of creativity. You may be asking yourself… what the hell… creativity?
Yes, that is the word I would like to focus when reflecting on 2020.
During a very difficult time in business, I had to channel the negative energy into positive actions. I had to create the change I wanted to see and be. I did that with great success, hard work, and maybe even shed a few tears. At the end of the day, it came down to my intention, not my goals. My intention was to share knowledge, experience and help Salesforce ecosystem learners, however my goal was to make $100k while doing this.
I started 2020 Salesforce Mentor Volunteer. I was matched with amazing individuals who in turn helped me in one way or another. Giving back is so important.
I ended 2020 with A.GAME Academy, a Project Management 7-week program within Salesforce Ecosystem serving under-estimated population for a very small profit to the company, but big returns. Engaging with 10 individuals and now watching their journeys unfold, is priceless feeling.
Through 2020 year, it was shifting perspectives, facing hard decisions, and overcoming struggles of meeting financial needs. This is where I tapped into my intention… sharing knowledge. Where I turned tough times into opportunity to grow my network and help showcase what other amazing humans are doing in Salesforce ecosystem. This took dedicated time, organization skills, and ability to ask for help.
In addition, I spent many countless evenings creating and updating content for training program, website and marketing designs, payment processing, running a business front to back end, just for my intention to share knowledge. I took time to present to User Groups and speak at other virtual events, prepping content and collaborating with peers, again sharing knowledge and tapping creativity.
It was during this creative time, I learned a lot about myself and where I want to go and what I want to do next in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Reflecting back, I did not hit my goal of 2020, but I did go above and beyond my intentions! 2020 was a year of transformation, shifts, and learning and for that I am thankful for all the craziness of 2020.
I am excited to see what 2021 will bring! New Year & New Me!
What a journey for the following individuals whom have received a Certificate in Project Management Fundamentals offered by A.GAME Academy.
I am overwhelmed with joy to see how each student participated in group exercises and discussions over our time together. I am confident these students will be able to apply bits and pieces to their jobs if not apply all lessons to day-day. One thing I am sure of, is these are skills used in all industries and having a certificate in Project Management will be great on a resume and help them stand out. They invested their time, energy, and money to grow their knowledge. I am so proud of how hard they worked to accomplish this certificate.
Project Management Fundamental Program:
The program is designed for adult learners who want to upskill or level up knowledge that will help set them apart in the Salesforce ecosystem. These students were committed to 7 week program investing time and energy in learning about leading projects with success.
Course content covered Project Management 10 Knowledge Areas, 5 Project Stages (Phases), and covered over 30 processes covered in PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). Each week we met to cover new content and review homework assignments. Homework consisted of reading articles, listening to podcasts to help apply content topics. Each student received templates at the end of the course that can be leveraged in day-day situations.
It was important to design the program for small group engagements to help share and verbally process content covered. As adults learners we learn best by applying concepts to everyday situation, personal or professional.
This has ended A.GAME Academy courses for 2020. Please make sure to stay tuned for 2021 Academy updates.
There are many ways to determine how to find the right partner for implementing Salesforce, or converting from Classic to Lightning, or optimizing processes.
Before you begin to consider a 3rd party to help, it is important to first look at your resources. Many organizations invest in streamline processes and moving to the cloud without evaluating current resource pool. It is key that there is a dedicated resource to support the system and end-users post go-live.
FACT 1: Resourcing Options
Internal Resource – is that an individual that would like to take on the management of the Salesforce?
Contract Admin Service – consider outsourcing Admin duties to 3rd party
New Hire Junior Admin – entry level that can work along side a Consulting and learn on the job as the implement or projects is occurring.
FACT 2: What did you Purchase
Another important element is to ensure you know what you purchased. Many times, organizations are not aware that they purchased Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud, which is very important when know the type of Consulting company to connect with. In additon, it is always helpful to know how many licenses where purchased per cloud. This will help speed up the process when selecting the right Consulting partner.
Once these two items have been handled, you are ready to determine what Consulting Company do you want to work with. There are many different Consulting Companies out there and many different ways to find the right partners.
FACT 3: Where to find the right Consulting Partner
AppExchange – Provides lists of Salesforce Consultants that allows you to filter based on the experience you are looking for. Please note, that not all partners will be listed on appexchange, which should not be discredited.
Referral – Ask around in the Trailblazer Community for specific partners, as people are happy to share great experiences. For example, my company A.GAME Consulting offers Advisor services which is referral based that handles implementations, customization, and integrations for small to medium size business (ranging from 5 – 1,000 seats).
Ask Salesforce Account Executive – This is a great way to start the bidding processes to determine the right partner for you. Please note, that companies do not always go with the recommendations, but it depends on the scale of project.
FACT 4: What to consider when finding the right Consulting Partner
Since the market is full of freelancers, subcontracts, and contractors, it is really important for you to know if partner subcontracts work out, based on area of experience. Salesforce has created an amazing Partner Network and it is how I started my Advisor Practice. For example, I may have a client who wants to implement CPQ and I have a strong network of CPQ experts, I would introduce that CPQ partner to the client. Win-Win-Win!
If this all too overwhelming or the business does not have time nor resources to vet out partners, consider bringing on A.GAME Advisors. This is our sweet spot as who help clients determine what are the needs, provides recommendations, coordinate vetting the process, and provide insight in partner selection.
RESULTS: A.GAME Advisors Program
Working with A.GAME Advisor is not done when the Consultant Company is selected. Rather, we are invested with the Client’s project and plays the role as Project Management and works along side the Consulting partner.
At A.GAME we are are Strategic Partner that builds long-term relationships with Clients. Let A.GAME programs help you save time, eliminate confusion, and bring cost-effective solutions for longer-term success.
The last session in Need a Boost Series recap is here!
What an amazing session with OpMentors who spoke about how the organization is shifting the conversation from utilization to productivity. Making the shift, helps with creating value add, build trust, and contribute to the bottom line.
Lets me introduce you to our guest:
Jocelyn has a passion for maximizing success through business processes. Her background as a financial analyst has given her the strategic experience in growing a consulting business while utilizing technologies to support growth.
Outside of work, Jocelyn volunteers at the local animal shelter, enjoys traveling with her family, working out and practicing martial arts.
BASED IN ILLINOIS
SALESFORCE ADMINISTRATOR CERTIFICATION, SALESFORCE SALES CLOUD CONSULTANT, SALESFORCE MVP, CHAIR OF WITNESS SUCCESS, CO-LEADER CHICAGO WOMEN IN TECH (WIT) USER GROUP
1. How does OpMentors team be productive while working remotely? Are there any tips for leading remote teams and how to keep the teams motivated?
Jocelyn: I do find that people that begin working remotely, can sometimes be a challenge to setup a system that allows them to be productive. Motivating can be extremely difficult during these times. For our team, we do regular check ins, use Slack to allow team members to stay connected and try to have fun. We work to have monthly happy hours where we can hangout and play games to get to know each other better.
Work to setup a space that is designated for your work. If space is limited, this can even be a specific table/chair in the house. I have found that mentally this keeps boundaries between work and home spaces.
Setting and sticking to (as best you can) a schedule. I find that keeping a schedule and making sure I mentally set the schedule for work time vs home time keeps me productive
Get Dressed. This may sound odd, but I find that when I wake up, workout, shower and dress for work, I can focus and “feel” like I am a working professional. Staying in relaxing clothes is always nice, but i find i feel less “work ready” if i do not get work dressed. Even if the work dress is jeans and a nice shirt.
2. It is my understanding, OpMentors has always been a remote consulting company. Like to hear how OpMentors shifted when COVID-19 hit. How did you handle clients during that difficult time of transition for them?
Jocelyn: You are correct. We have been a remote company since our founding in February of 2014. We did find that when the majority of our clients shifted to remote during COVID-19 times, we had several weeks of transitions. Clients needed the time to ensure their teams were supported remotely. We did see slow downs with our implementation projects. OpMentors took the stance that we needed to be as flexible as possible to support our clients. There were times our team would take very early or later in the evening meetings to accommodate people that needed this time.
3. How does OpMentors measure productivity and has there been a shift on how you define productivity now that even clients are remote? Has this affected project timelines? Impacts? Or Influence clients to move more towards the cloud-base tools?
Jocelyn: As a services based company, we have several standard ways we measure productivity such as timecards, utilization, etc. We do have a saying that the numbers do not lie, but they also do not tell the whole story. Utilization does not directly correlate with productivity. We have been rethinking and are always evaluating what productivity means for our business as well as each team member. We work to provide a “we are family” business feel and really enjoy getting to know each of our team members whether they are employees or contractors.
Project timelines had been extended during the height of COVID. Most of our clients were either mid project or just starting. I do think the importance of being able to work remotely has influenced Clients to move toward cloud-based tools.
4. Why do you think customers are investing in project management tools, FinancialForce PSA or Salesforce or any cloud-based platform?
Jocelyn: I think the move to cloud-based platforms has been happening for a long time. The ability to have data stored in one centralized cloud has always had an enormous impact on clients. Having all the data on your Clients in one place allows companies to have a 360 degree view of their client. This has become the standard benchmark for companies and service providers. With the rise of COVID and the realization of the need (and benefits) of working remotely, i believe more companies are going to continue to work to move to cloud based solutions.
FinancialForce is a native application to Salesforce. With the value of FinancialForce PSA, this allows consulting companies to have all project related data in one centralized place.
I created Need a Boost Series, as our Professional and Personal worlds have collided in 2020. I am interested in hearing from Professional Women Leaders and their insights on Productivity. In this series, we are exploring what is productivity, how is it measured, and the shifts that have occurred.
In a world that is virtual, cloud based, and digital we will learn tips, tricks, and tools to help keep productive in our personal and professional lives.
Powerful Purpose’s work has helped professional women and female business owners take back their lives. The women that coach with Powerful Purpose initially have found themselves tired, overwhelmed, and burnt out from the constant demands on their time.
Pam Drzewiecki is the founder and is a productivity and leadership coach. She helps women to become a master of their time and task management skills so they can identify what they truly need and apply it with confidence and no guilt in order to design their optimal life – which includes developing the business or career they want too.
The mission of Powerful Purpose is to bring 1000’s of women [Heck, Millions!] together in the Take Back MY Life Community – where women can see who they truly are, not who they think they need to be. Pam is a mom, wife, and woman of faith; these “hats” are important to her. She is also a Certified “Everything Wiley DiSC” Coach (behavioral assessment tools), author, radio show host, advocate for local charities, and runs her own giveback, “Fill the Purse with Purpose” allowing her to continue to spread the word about how giving more gives you a more fulfilled life.
NOW …YOU SEE WHY I WANTED YOU TO KNOW PAM? She is an amazing leader, who I had the pleasure of working with for about 9 months. I met her at Salesforce Women In Tech Summit in TN and new I had to work with her.
Continue reading Pam’s responses to questions on productivity and to learn more about how Pam views productivity along with a tool called “Powerful Purpose Planner”.
1. What does it mean to be an accountability coach?
Do you know when you really want to get something done and you keep telling yourself over and over tomorrow will be that day…well having an accountability coach allows you to reach that day or sometimes as my clients see that today is much closer because of the work I do with them.
2. Who are your typical clients?
And how have you helped them? Busy professional women and female founders. I have helped them see that it is okay to have and want everything with confidence and no guilt. That setting boundaries around their time, space, and energy is selfless. Truly give them tools to take back their lives.
“I have one client Sheryl that is a CFO for hire – she worked 75 hours a week and her husband was raising their 3 children when we started working together. Now she has more family time, two employees, just negotiated an amazing contract with a client that used to take advantage of her good nature and she has placed self-care into her life.”
“Another client has a consulting firm and they just hit 6 figures during the pandemic and left their consulting jobs from another company 3 months earlier than expected.”
“My most recent client is a production manager – her boss hired me to help her be a better leader. Just in 1 month of time together has implemented changes that are being noticed.”
3. Do you have any tips for our readers today on how to manage their days to be productive?
Yes, Kelly – this is very common with busy women. Having so much on our plates and that we feel we need to do it all. When we fail to plan we find ourselves putting out fires every day and at the end of the day we are tired and overwhelmed but still see our list being so long! What we really want is to be the one starting the “fires”. The awareness of knowing what needs to be done is truly important.
TIP: Brain Dump
I plan on Fridays. I review the successes and failures of the week, and then brain dump for the week ahead and put everything in their place. Having white space and focus time on the calendar to allow for adjustments. Some people say shut off notifications when you are working, or time blocking, or sticky notes (this one I don’t agree with-LOL) sticky notes to me is chaos….But the key is to truly find what works for you.
If you are getting things done and feel accomplished then work with that. I am finding that the more women I work with won’t fit into one box of how it “should” be done. I know what works for me and it is my pleasure to help other women find what works for them. I have created the Powerful Purpose Planner filled with resources that help you find your task and time management skills.
4. Are there tools that you suggest building into a daily habit?
Yes, my Powerful Purpose planner – it is set up for success. It is an awareness guide to who, what, why and how you are showing up. But on top of that, daily gratitude helps us to stay there and not slip into attitude. Tons of different things are going on today that can truly get us down but finding what fills us will keep us focused on the goal.
TOOL: Powerful Purpose Planner
That is why planning is so important – we have a clear vision and it is easier to see when the chaos and noise rolls in to make everything cloudy. Also, choosing 3 ten minute slots in the morning (pockets of goodness) that will ground your day. Picking a Power Word during your weekly plan helps you align with your daily needs. www.powerful-purpose.com/power-words this is a free guide to help you get started with this process.
Another item you spoke about a lot is when to say YES and when to say NO. As a people pleaser, I found my time spent on unnecessary items.
5. What are your thoughts about prioritization and how to do it best?
We all have 8 buckets we need to pour into daily in our life: spiritual, personal development, movement/exercise/physical, earning power, family/friends, savings, giving back. Taking time to be aware of which bucket needs your attention and decide from there what is most important. No balance here – just swaying through what is needed at the time. When understanding this you give yourself permission not to be everything all the time. Saying NO is saying YES to something else.
6. Give me one word that describes 2020 year?
Please help me thank Pam for all she has done and doing to help Women take back their lives! It was a pleasure collaborating and interviewing Pam.
We had our very first conversation looking at the world of Project Management and how companies are shifting to freelancers and contractors that can help organizations with leading projects, successfully in the Salesforce Ecosystem.
For those that missed out: I would like to introduce you and share Q&A session highlight.
Pallavi is the founder of Kander, a cloud transformation consulting firm focused on Salesforce based in Washington DC.
Pallavi Agarwal has more than a decade of experience as an executive management consultant, overseeing large scale cloud-based business transformations. Her proven methodologies have resulted in successful business strategies, program management, and application implementations for a wide variety of clients. Her passion is understanding the core needs of her clients and helping them craft a vision that takes them where they want to go. She believes that it’s about the business process and understanding the “why” of the user experience and customers to drive the business outcomes for clients.
She is also passionate about mentoring women in the community for personal and career growth.
Q: Tips on how to manage projects if the team is remote or half remote?
A: Our teams have always been remote even before COVID-19 hit. What we find works for us is continuous communication via Slack, Text and weekly check-ins on video. Seeing your team in person (video) really helps the team stay connected. For our projects we have checkins with our clients on a weekly basis at a minimum to show progress and next steps. It’s really about staying connected and confirming that each member has what they need to not have any roadblocks. Setting up a quick daily standup also helps.
2. Q: What are the biggest challenges your organization or your clients face as it relates to productivity within the project and keeping the team motivated?
A: At times client users don’t want the change; so then they are likely to not engage. Other times these projects are on top of the day jobs everyone has. So we are 100% dedicated to the project but most client resources this is just one more thing to add to the plate of so many things. So it becomes challenging to get motivated and provide continuous progress. It’s up to the consultants to engage the clients on a need basis and take the bulk on their own plates to help with this.
3. Q: Do you see shifts in the marketplace on how leading projects are changing? Are you seeing more project managers being freelancers/contractors?
A: Yes, definitely. Our company partners with many other firms to provide experienced program managers to help execute the partner projects. We have seen an increase in demand for this especially during covid. Right now it’s less risky to bring in a freelancer than to hire someone full time. The overall commitment is less from resources and cost.
4. Q: What are the benefits of companies to contract Project Managers for specific projects?
A: The scalability is definitely a huge benefit, especially in the current climate. Hiring a PM for a specific project is great because then you bring someone who is experienced and can execute but you don’t have to worry about the overhead costs of a full time employee. Especially for specific projects that may require a certain skill set or projects that are short term. Hiring PMs for specific projects with the right skillset is so valuable vs trying to have someone in a PM role who may not have the experience. Many times companies will designate someone internally as a PM but the person either doesn’t have the experience or does not want the role.
5. Q: Give me one word that describes 2020 year?
I created Need a Boost Series, as our Professional and Personal worlds have collided in 2020, I am interested in hearing from Professional Women Leaders and their insights on Productivity. In this series, we are exploring what is productivity, how is it measured, and the shifts that have occurred.
In a world that is virtual, cloud based, and digital we will learn tips, tricks, and tools to help keep productivity in our personal and professional lives.
hours minutes seconds
Need a Boost?
If you want see the next sessions, check out Need a Boost Series on A.GAME website and reserve your spot.
As a business owner, there are many discussions happening to if your organization will allow for 100% remote working. There are questions and risks that are being considered.
I have been working out of my home office since 2014 and never thought I would want to work remote. As a matter of fact, when I was in corporate office, the company was moving in the direction of remote work as an option. At this point in time, I would say…
” NO WAY! I would not be productive working out of my home. “ ~ Kelly Leslie
I always thought there was only one way for me to stay productive by being in the office.
Today as a remote worker, it would be hard to go back into an office setting on a full time basis. I can not believe how more productive I am working remote. I get more done in 6 hours, then a regular 8 hour work day in the office.
There some myths out there that working from home an employee may not be as productive, feel disconnected, or spend to much time in managing email.
First, this blog is based on my experience, so others may have other thoughts to share that are opposed.
Based on the roles at a company should help determine if working remote is an option.
Consider the individual opinion and support it either way.
Make sure there are tools in place to assist with collaboration, transparency on projects and new expectations are clearly communicated.
Here we go….
I am excited to share, I have an amazing line-up of interview series. I will be chatting it up with leaders that come from different backgrounds to share tips on productivity, working remote, technologies to consider, and tools to ensure collaboration and productivity.
Look at the how technology is helping businesses make it easier or possible to provide an option to work remote for employees. Make sure to join me on the ……
Need a Boost Series: Connection and Productivity in Remote Workplace. Let’s Connect & Stay Tuned!
If you do not know theses ladies you need to! I am excited to share they are the first class of A.GAME Academy Graduates. CONGRATS!
They showed up, participated, and contributed to A.GAME Academy’s 7 weeks course leading Projects successfully. The content covered the Project Management 10 Knowledges, 5 Project Stages (Phases), along with over 30 processes covered in PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge).
Outside the weekly class, each student had homework; reading articles, listening to podcasts, and assignments to help apply the content covered in the modules. The hard work is taking the concepts and making it applicable. We encourage the students to begin using templates provided immediately or reflect on content and relating to current or past situations. Once of the student was being to ask peers questions about how projects are lead to help tie the class content back to a project is was involved with.
Watching the learning process evolve is such an awarding and gratifying experience for me, as the instructor. If students are not able to tie the concepts learned back to real world situations, that means I am not doing my job as an instructor. This is the key part to training. It is not about telling information, rather how to obtain and apply the information.
After the course the graducate received templates used through the course, so they can use as templates and modify as needed. At the end of the day, students will have the fundamentals of how to lead projects and all the moving elements that are involved with Project Management. It will provide a framework, where students can take what applies based on each situation. As each project is different, each project managers techniques will vary, but the overall framework is there to support the success of the project.
I will be wrapping up my second class of graduates in November, which I will share more about what will be happening 2021.
Make sure to connect and follow me and stay tuned!
Businesses are struggling to get back into the swing of things and creating new norms for working. If you are a company that uses Salesforce, listen up as A.GAME Advisors has a solution to help you as we all transition into the new normal.
Do you have a backlog of Salesforce items that need to be fixed and project work that went on hold due to COVID-19? Are budgets tight and can not afford to bring in a Consultant at the current rate?
As a small business owner, I understand the new norms and struggles that are being faced. A.GAME Advisor has a solution that will help you get items done in a way to cost-effective way while giving back to the community at the same time.
Give back to the community?
During the last 3 months, many individuals are getting more certifications, especially in the Salesforce Community. This is something I raved about in a previous blog, about taking this time to learn something new.
What has happened is a large gap of Salesforce customers who want to hire, but not sure about the talent due to lack of experience. This is where you come in and support the learning community.
By participating in A.GAME Advisor Program, we match up Talent with Customers’ needs. Here’s the catch, the Talent is matched with an A.GAME Advisor who will assist, guide, and offer help to the Talent as they deliver the work for the customer.
Customers are supporting new talent and giving them experience and will be confident about delivery because of the support of the job coach.
Customers will be getting more done at the fraction of the cost compared to the typical Consultant rates.
Customers will have the option to hire the Talent as employees after the contract with A.GAME Advisors has expired.
If you are interested to learn more, I invite you to visit A.GAME Academy, Advisor Program page: https://www.agameacademy.com/advisor, and click on the “Learn” button and complete the contact us page. I will personally reach out to you to set up a time to chat and learn more about your needs and see how we can partner.
This blog is dedicated to helping all those that run or are considering starting a user group to run amazing Salesforce User Groups. Look here for best practices, war stories, successes and challenges fought and overcome. Guest bloggers are welcome.